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Glaxo buys acne-cream giant

BRITISH drug maker GlaxoSmithKline PLC said yesterday it will buy American dermatology business Stiefel Laboratories Inc in a deal worth up to US$3.6 billion.

Stiefel, a privately owned company based in Florida, makes acne treatments and other skin creams, lotions, washes and vitamins. The company put itself up for sale earlier this year, and reportedly had drawn interest from Johnson & Johnson and Novartis AG as well as Glaxo.

Glaxo agreed to pay US$2.9 billion in cash for the total share capital of Stiefel and will assume US$400 million of debt.

A further payment of US$300 million is contingent on the company's performance.

Glaxo shares were fractionally higher at 1,038.5 pence (US$15.12) on the London Stock Exchange.

Glaxo said its existing prescription dermatological products will be combined with Stiefel's and sold under the Stiefel brand.

Stiefel's leading products include Duac for acne, Olux E for dermatitis and Soriatane for severe psoriasis. Stiefel had about US$900 million in sales last year, while Glaxo's sales of dermatology products was around US$550 million, the company said.

"This transaction will create a new world-leading, specialist dermatology business and re-energize our existing dermatology products," said Glaxo Chief Executive Andrew Witty.

"The addition of Stiefel's broad portfolio will provide immediate new revenue flows to GSK," Witty said.


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